Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bennett Campaign Vainly Tries Some Damage Control

"Nice guys finish last!"

Those are words Northampton County Exec hopeful Ann McHale lobbed in the general direction of incumbent John Stoffa last week. He genuinely believes in open and inclusive government, but council members constantly misconstrue his honest civility as weakness. When they attempt to take advantage, as they certainly did last week, they end up looking like a petty and mean-spirited bunch.

They think we don't notice, but we do.

There's been a lot to notice recently. State senator Lisa Boscola tolerates a chief of staff who degraded three women on this blog and advocated dropping nukes on Iraq. Ed Rendell, in a game of chicken with the state legislature, was willing to put 25 thousand state workers on indefinite furlough, and no one in the land of midnight payraises has achieved any kind of meaningful property tax reform. People are disgusted with all levels of government. About the only thing lower than Bush's 29% approval ratings, is Congress, which tanks at 24%.

That's why Sam Bennett, touted as the Lehigh Valley's Democratic nominee for Congress since January, is so disappointing. She's part of the same old tired bunch of insiders who think we owe them something. She's demonstrated convincingly that she's a blatant opportunist. I'll spare you the details. They've been chronicled extensively by The Morning Call, and here in the Lehigh Valley's own Blogistan by AJ's Weblog, Aphrodite's Daughter, Addicted and Maddy. An excellent essay was recently posted, giving us a woman's point of view, at Pam Varkony's Perspectives. Of course, I've had a word or two to say myself.

Much of the criticism has come from fellow Democrats. It's friendly fire.

Bennett, if she had any sense of ethics, would listen. At the very least, she'd take a leave of absence from her nonprofit to keep it from getting mired in politics. But her campaign has instead reacted with damage control. It distributed "talking points" and even tried to use them as a comment on yesterday's post.

I'm flattered.

I recognized it the moment I saw it. You see, BethDem posted a copy on his own blog. And a few Democratic committeemen were kind enough to send me these "talking points." First, Vince Zoppi, secretary of the Allentown Dems, tells us Sam Bennett has made the "ultra sacrifice." Did she finally withdraw for the good of the party? Nah. She just agreed to a paycut because the heat is on over her excessive $110,000 salary at nonprofit Properties of Merit.

Then he gives us the official spin from TeamBlue Politics, Inc., a Washington-based political consulting firm that seems to specialize in losing close races. Here's what hotshot Walter Ludwig, a principal in that non local firm, tells the locals to say.

It is already clear that Charlie Dent is running scared this time, because he faces a formidable opponent who will be well-funded and articulate. His political people are trying hard already to get Sam Bennett out of the race, so he can get a free pass. These efforts will include using the press to plant embarassing [sic] and misleading stories, such as the one last week. (And whatever the reporter's motivations in writing the story, the quick involvement of Sen. Pat Browne shows there was a political component.)

It is important for us to remember, and to remind others, that this is politics-as-usual for Republicans in general and Charlie Dent in particular, a so-called "nice guy" who nevertheless doesn't vote "nice" and is surrounded by some pretty nasty political advisors. We only have to go back to the last election to recall that Dent and Shawn Millen spent over a million dollars bludgeoning Charles Dertinger.

We have to be prepared to defend against these tactics whenever and however they occur. All of you have significant "spheres of influence," both in and out of politics. We ask that you take every opportunity to remind them of the following:

Dent is scared; Karl Rove and he both know he is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House. He will do anything, say anything to win re-election.

He may be a "nice guy," but his people are nasty politcal
[sic] hacks.

He may be a "nice guy," but his votes on the war, on health care, on the environment and almost ever other issue are straight down the line with Bush.

The national Republican party has already promised Dent millions in extra help with his race; we need to make sure our side has the financial resources to fight back.


Incidentally, Bennett has already paid this outfit $6,895.00 for a lousy attempt to resuscitate her failing campaign. I could have written a better letter than that for free! It would even be spelled right.

Let me translate what this email really tells us.

It's hard to believe, but Sam Bennett's campaign is imploding and she doesn't even have a primary opponent! Let's blame the press for her ridiculous salary, and claim Republicans leaked it. Yeah, that's the ticket! We know that Dent is keeping his powder dry until after the primary and is actually praying that Santa gives him Sam as an opponent. But you're a bunch of gullible idiots and we're sophisticated spinmeisters. We know Dent is popular in the Lehigh Valley, so we'll just call him a 'fraidy cat. Then we'll tie him to Karl Rove and that bastard Millan. Everybody hates him. Hopefully, some of you morons will be stupid enough to kick in a few more bucks so we can continue drawing $3,000 per month from Bennett's campaign. Hey, life in DC ain't cheap. Not that you would understand. Hugs and kisses.

I decided to call the evil Shawn Millan, Dent's campaign manager, yesterday. He was upset because I interrupted him trying to fry some ants with a magnifying glass, but he agreed to speak to me. He immediately confessed that the nasty political hack who called him a nasty political hack is right. "But I wish he'd spell my name right. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm watching this hilarious video I picked up real cheap from Channel 69 ..."

Actually, nice guys are finishing first these days. People are relieved when they find someone who is actually a decent person. Charlie Dent is a "nice guy," and people from both parties really appreciate that. Politicos have a rough time comprehending that normal people are totally disgusted by our local, state and national politicians. By comparison with most of them, Dent is a breath of fresh air. That's the way it is here in the Lehigh Valley. Many of you will scream "heresy" at me for saying that. Dep down, you know it's the truth.

That's why this Democrat will vote for Dent.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. the good news: we are learning to fight the Rs with their own tactics. "Bush didn't screw up the war in Iraq, it's congress/the media/Clinton's fault for not supporting our troops."

2. The bad news: in this instance, we're doing it in support of a charlatan like Bennett.

She's a good salesman though, if you investigate her history. There are multiple influential Dems who supported and worked with for for a period of time (it usually takes a campaign cycle to figure her out) and then cut ties with her.

Anonymous said...

For this Democrat, my test for Dent is not how he handles Spam Bennett. It's what he is going to do in September.

He must lead the "Tuesday Group" once and for all, away from the President regarding the war. If he does that, he has my vote. Bernie, I know you have different feelings regarding the war and the philosophy of staying there, but we need to get out.

Everyone can see the fallacies from the spinmeisters on Spam's payroll. I've seen better campaigns conducted in high school officers elections. The Dems should draft the likes of Joe Brennan who has more integrity in his left pinky, then what we are left with.

Anonymous said...

From Anon 7:01

From Wikipedia

Spam is the abuse of (electronic messaging) POLITICAL systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages. While the most widely recognized form of spam is (e-mail spam) BENNETT, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media.

Spam is economically viable because (advertisers) POLITICAL CONSULTANTS have no operating costs beyond the management of their mailing lists, and it is difficult to hold (senders) POLITICAL CONSULTANTS accountable for their mass mailings. Because the barrier to POLITICAL entry is so low, spams are numerous, and the volume of unsolicited (mail) PATRONAGE has become very high. The costs, such as lost productivity and fraud, are borne by the public and by (Internet service providers) THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, which have been forced to add extra capacity to cope with the deluge. Spam is widely reviled, and has been the subject of (legislation) BLOGS in many jurisdictions.

Anonymous said...

" Charles Dent has voted with a majority of his Republican colleagues 83.5% of the time during the current Congress." washingtonpost.com.

argyll55 said...

Well said Bernie. Your reason for voting for Dent is the same reason this Republican used to vote for Paul McHale. What the scumbags in Harrisburg and Washington don't seem to understand is that we, the great unwashed, appreciate decency and integrity. I don't have to agree with my representative 100% of the time. If I feel that representative is acting with integrity to represent all of us, and is trying to act for the greater good, then I am likely to support him/her if I agree with their positions > half the time.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 8:54,

I'm probably not alone in saying that I'm sick and tired of the "He's with Bush" scare tactics. It may have worked for the Dems during the last election, but it's not going to cut it this time.

Argyll55 has explained why I would vote for Dent, even though I may not agree entirely with his voting record.

On the other hand, we have Sam Bennett, who hands herself a $110k salary right before she starts her run for Congress. She had to know that every move she made would be up for scrutiny, yet this didn't seem to cause any concern for her - even though at least two of POM's board members raised eyebrows.

What kind of a dumbass would do that? We have already have enough dumbasses in Congress, and I'm not about to help put another one in.

Anonymous said...

You'd vote for Dent because "he's a nice guy?" Thats the most pathetic thing I've ever read. And his opponent is not even known yet. That post made me nearly vomit. "Breath of fresh air?" Hayshaker politics indeed.

Anonymous said...

argyll55 - Are you implying Dent is being "representative" of the wishes of LV citizens? I couldn't disagree more.

Anonymous said...

You'd vote for Dent because "he's a nice guy?"

Nice try putting words into Argyll's mouth. If you read it properly the point was this:

a) Dent has integrity
b) Sam Bennett does not

Bernie O'Hare said...

Argyll55,

You put it a lot more succintly than I could do, but that's pretty much the way I feel.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:54, That's more spin, and you posted that remark yesterday. Do you think we don't know how tro read? In May, I posted a blog about the National Journalk ratings. In his first year in Congress, Dent was fairly conservative. But in 2006, he was more of a centrist who leaned slightly right. His composite liberal score was 46.7, and his composite conservative score was 53.3

Now I woulnd't make too much over one year. After his second term is over, we'll have four years from which to judge him. I think I'll find a reasonsable guy, more conservative than me, but much more moderate than the spammeisters will have you believe.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:01

"Hayshaker"? I think the operative term is actually "hoofty".

Bernie O'Hare said...

Now, gee, who would call the thoughts LV residents "hayshaker" politics??

Perhaps a DC-based consultant who's making the mistake of looking down his nose at us?

Is there something wrong with haytshakers?

Isn't it the American farmer who feeds 90% of the world?

Isn't it the American farmer that made this a great country?

I'll gladly accept the moniker. It's a little sad to see that the Bennett campaign is now belittling farmers.

A.J. Cordi said...

Team Blue received all that money and Ludwig posting comments on Bernie's blog is the best he could come up with?

Explain again how Bennett is a wise candidate for Congress? Perhaps she should find out if Team Blue has a return policy...

Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare said...

This is hilarious,

How sad it it that we are arguing over who is worse: The flip-flopping Congressman who's voting record is conservative in year one of each term, then moderate in year two; or, the faithless, enelectable, and unethical "party boss" pick, who makes us fellow Dems want to vomit.

Hooray for progress in the Lehigh Valley. Have fun voting for Charlie "the good ole' local boy," who smiles in his pictures in the Morning Call (who wouldn't when your local paper is always praising you?). I think Greta Browne has my vote right now.

Can we not do any better?

Bernie O'Hare said...

He must lead the "Tuesday Group" once and for all, away from the President regarding the war. If he does that, he has my vote. Bernie, I know you have different feelings regarding the war and the philosophy of staying there, but we need to get out.

Agreed. I never thought we belonged there. I'm deeply concerned that abruptly leaving will expose Sunni Muslims to genocide. But the news from Iraq is very discouraging. And in a war that cannot be won militarily, Bush seems reluctant to engage surrounding countries to achieve some kind of stability.

Bernie O'Hare said...

To Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare:

Can we not do any better?

In a word, no. I don't know if you saw CC's post today. Callahan won't run.

Between Bennett amd Dent, it's not even close.

We need to replace local party leaders, as you have made clear many times, and install Democrats who are democrats.

Chris Casey said...

"we can't do any better?"
We won't until we stop letting the rules of old time politics run the local party.
It has taken me some time to accept what I knew as soon as Sam announced, that she has no viability in this race. The lemmings giving her money don't even feel victimized, because they were following the lead of a dysfunctional political party family. I wanted her to do well, but the baggage she has dropped on the rest of us is formidable. sam bennett's botched campaign will have negative repercussions up and down the ballot in 2008 if she is the nominee. I feel I have an obligation as a Dem committeeman to speak out and not let that happen.

Anonymous said...

What will it take to get rid of Joe Long?

Larry Kisslinger said...

12:53 PM Anonymous said... What will it take to get rid of Joe Long?
You should ignore him and go direct to the people with your message. I have zero clue why anybody worries about what Party folks say or do, these days! I know only a few in each local LV
Party that can and will take time to work an election. Boss Long ain't one of them and neither is anybody else who listens to him. larry@kisslinger.com

Anonymous said...

You'd vote for Dent because "he's a nice guy?"

Nice try putting words into Argyll's mouth. If you read it properly the point was this:


Uh, no. Those are Bernie O'Hare's words. Didn't you even read the posting you are commenting on?

Anonymous said...

Now, gee, who would call the thoughts LV residents "hayshaker" politics??

Perhaps a DC-based consultant who's making the mistake of looking down his nose at us?


Try again. My dad's friends used to use the word "hayshaker" to describe the backward mentality of the typical LV resident. I've lived here for my entire life.

Anonymous said...

Bernie O-Hare. I just read the rest of that post. Are you serious? You never heard that term? Have you lived here your whole life? You look to be about my age.

My mom used to tell me not to be one of those people who live 75 miles from the greatest city on earth and never once visited there. Are you one of those, Bernie O'Hare?

Anonymous said...

My mistake, anon. Bernie did use the words, 'nice guy' but that's not all he said. The point is still the same:

a) Dent has integrity
b) Sam Bennett does not

Greendogdem said...

I'll vote for what ever third party candidate there is.

BethlehemDem said...

I cannot say that Dent is a nice guy and that I will vote for him over Bennett. But I also will not vote for Bennett.

I am in the same camp as Joey Long's Worst Nightmare and GreenDog. As a life long Democrat, I cannot bring myself to vote for an R. I just wish we could do better than Bennett.

So I will be writing in my vote.

I will be voting for Bernie O'Hare. He may be a disgruntled, but he would be open and honest.

Bernie O'Hare said...

BethDem,

Actually, there is one Dem who would be worse than Bennett - me.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:29,

My mom used to tell me not to be one of those people who live 75 miles from the greatest city on earth and never once visited there. Are you one of those, Bernie O'Hare?

Of course I've visited the big city. I've been to Scranton many times.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:29,

My dad's friends used to use the word "hayshaker" to describe the backward mentality of the typical LV resident.

It's gratifying to know we don't measure up to your elitist standards. A very democratic Democrat, aren't we?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:48,

"Hayshaker"? I think the operative term is actually "hoofty".

Say now! This supposed LV native sure seems like an Ouslander. It wonders me.

Joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare said...

Bernie,

I'm fourth generation Lehigh Valley, but this guy is talking out his rear. Sounds DC to me. As for local "hayshaker" politics, I stress the stupidity of this person to think in broad national terms (even the presidential nominations won't be decided in those terms):

1.) The Lehigh Valley, even though it is sometimes close, almost always bucks national trends (see '94's nail biter for McHale, Toomey winning in '98, and Dent last year).
2.) Lehigh Valley voters never swing as wildly left and right as voters in other areas in PA or the nation. Check the issue polling.
3.) Broad national trends work nowhere. If they did, Illinois would have elected a Congresswoman Duckworth last year, but local issues prevented such. In other words, bad nominees lose elections.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Queen Ann McHale and Marty Till laugh at nice guys while sipping mint julips at the Saucon Valley Country Club. Maybe Madam McHale should run for Congress instead of County Executive, she has the imperial ways down already and she is as qualified as Bennet. Lucky for her she married into a famous Lehigh Valley Dem. name. In all seriousness do I think she is qualified, not even close; could she win, better chance than Bennet.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:28, She is a better candidate than Bennett. But that's not saying much.

joey Long and the Boys' Worst Nightmare said...

Bernie,

Mike Gravel is better than Sam Bennett. She might have been the worst..... oh no wait, Boss could have run himself.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Nah. He's running for exec ... I hope.

Anonymous said...

If there is a God in heavan Joe Long will run. In fact my dream in the Exec race - Long v. Angle.

Anonymous said...

I think voting for a dump truck full of gravel would be better than Bennett

Greendogdem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.